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Making and Breaking Premarital Agreements in Texas

Posted on in Prenuptial Agreements

Texas family law attorney, Texas high asset divorce lawyer, Texas prenup lawyer, New homeowners never think that their houses will burn down, and they certainly do not desire such an outcome. But responsible homeowners always obtain insurance policies, even though there is nothing "fun" about filling out insurance forms. In a similar vein, no soon-to-be-newlywed couple anticipates a high asset divorce, and they certainly do not desire this outcome. But a premarital agreement and a homeowner's insurance policy have much in common: they both help couples be prepared if the unthinkable should happen.

These contracts serve an additional purpose. Much evidence indicates that financial squabbles are among the leading causes of marital strife. When these disagreements inevitably appear, a premarital agreement helps bring order to the chaos, because some important financial decisions have already been made.

Making a Premarital Agreement

Other than child support, prenuptial agreements may cover almost any subject that is not against public policy. A no-fault divorce waiver may even be enforceable in some cases. A premarital agreement may memorialize mutual understandings regarding:

  • Property Division: While there is no hard-and-fast rule, an 80-20 division may be considered unconscionable, a concept that is discussed in detail below;
  • Spousal Support: A premarital agreement may touch on the amount and duration of payments, as well as eligibility for spousal maintenance; and
  • Inheritance Matters: When stepchildren are involved, it is often a good idea to clarify inheritance and succession issues to prevent costly disagreements later.

The agreement must be a single written document that is signed "in contemplation of marriage," a phrase that generally means after engagement.

Breaking a Premarital Agreement

Generally, family courts give considerable deference to most all spousal agreements during a high net worth divorce, and overturn the contracts only in extreme circumstances. Such instances include:

  • Lack of Voluntariness: In this context, involuntariness generally means that the signing spouse did not know all pertinent financial details and had no way to obtain such knowledge; or
  • Unconscionable: The inequality must be so great that it shocks the conscience of reasonable people.

The agreement must also be unconscionable when it was made. For example, a spouse may exchange cash for stock options, and if the options are worth a fortune at the time of divorce, the agreement is still probably not unconscionable at the time it was made.

A premarital agreement helps a marriage begin on a solid foundation. For a confidential consultation, contact an aggressive Austin complex divorce lawyer. Call the Law Offices of William D. Powers at 512.610.6199 today.

Source:

http://www.statutes.legis.state.tx.us/Docs/FA/htm/FA.4.htm

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